5 Tips to Avoid Computer Vision Syndrome

As Americans spend more time in front of screens both large and small — almost 11 hours a day, according to one study — the harmful effects these pixel-staring hours can have on their eyesight are growing, as well.

If you spend large chunks of your day with your nose glued to a computer screen, there’s a lot you can do to protect yourself against a number of problems that can affect your vision.

Here at Pack Optical, Dr. Alisha Poonawala has made it her mission to help her patients in the Fort Worth, Texas, area better navigate the digital screen waters, safeguarding their vision against the problems that crop up because of prolonged computer use.

To get started, here are five tips that will help you avoid computer vision syndrome, or digital eye strain.

1. 20-20-20

Your eyes are meant to move about, taking in your surroundings both near and far. To do this, your eyes focus and refocus dozens of times every minute as they attempt to transmit information to your brain to form clear images.

When you stare at a screen, your eyes are “stuck” in one focusing position, which can lead to an enormous amount of strain as your eyes attempt to hold the focus.

For this reason, eye specialists have come up with a nifty tool to help give your eyes a break. Every 20 minutes, look up and away from your screen and focus on something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This allows your eyes to release their close focus, giving them a much-needed break and distraction.

2. Light it up

The lighting in your workspace can also have an effect on how well your eyes function. It’s important that you steer clear of lighting that creates a glare on your screen or, conversely, rooms that are darker than your computer screen.

Ideally, your computer screen and the ambient lighting around it should be similar. This eliminates the jarring effect that an overly bright screen can have on your eyes. And the lighting issues can go both ways — dimly lit screens are equally as bad since they force your eyes to work harder.

Do your best to match your screen with the lighting around you, creating a seamless environment that’s well lit, without pockets of glare.

3. Blink it out

When you stare at a computer screen, odds are you’re not blinking nearly enough. Your eyes rely on blinking to distribute the valuable hydration and nutrients in your tears. If you’re staring, unblinkingly, at a screen, you run the risk of developing dry eye.

So, make it a point to blink more to keep your eyes well nourished while you work.

4. Redo your lenses

If you wear corrective lenses, they may not be appropriate for your screen. When we analyze your vision, we run you through a series of tests to determine whether you have nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism. When we give you lenses to correct these issues, these lenses may not be suited to the rigors of working at a computer.

To help your eyes function at their best in front of the screen, we can supply you with special lenses that provide you with a larger intermediate area for viewing your computer.

5. Take a break

This final tip is an important one for both your eye health and your overall health. On top of the 20-20-20 rule, get up throughout your day and go do something that doesn’t involve any screen at all.

Visit a colleague, take a quick walk, or run out for a quick lunch break. These respites from your desk chair help all your muscles relax and recalibrate, including the ones in your eyes.

Now, let’s go back to our first tip. Take a moment right now to look away from the screen to focus on something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. When you come back to your screen, you can give us a call or schedule an appointment using the booking tool if you’d like us to come up with a custom plan to help you avoid computer eye syndrome.


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